With the right approach, owning multiple businesses is not only manageable, but also highly profitable.
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“Don’t bite off more than you can chew,” the age-old idiom goes, but you can chew a lot more than most people think. You just need to eat healthily. Move slowly. And be careful not to choke.
From Lego blocks to business investments, I’ve always carried as much as my shoulders could possibly bear. At just 24 years old, I started a public relations, crisis mitigation and communications agency with offices in two different cities, 1,312 miles apart. More recently, I moved from New York to New Orleans to launch my second firm: a new full-service digital-marketing agency. Thankfully, both of my businesses have grown tremendously.
But whether you work in public relations, digital marketing or any other industry, if you move too quickly or take on too much, launching a second organization can be catastrophic for you and all your endeavors. These tips enabled me to seamlessly lead my multiple businesses to success simultaneously, and I hope you find them as valuable as I have.
1. Don’t play favorites
Never focus too much on one business if it will come at the expense of another and they are of equal value. The rise of your second organization should not cause the fall of your first and vice versa. It is crucial to divert time, effort and attention to all of your endeavors, based on genuine urgency and profitability, rather than preferential management and random sparks of inspiration.
2. Bring everything together when you can
The nature of running two businesses is that you’re constantly pulled in different directions. Take every chance you get to kill two birds with one stone. Whenever your organizations can be brought together for a project or one can help or refer the other, take advantage of those opportunities. A second business is a resource that every owner should use wisely.
3. Set your priorities straight
To operate multiple organizations at the same time, you must have your priorities in order, and as new obligations arise, determine what needs your attention when. This is twice as vital when you have double the number of responsibilities and limited time. The ability to prioritize essential tasks is critical to the survival and success of both your businesses.
4. Get out of your own way
You can’t do everything. Consult with, hire and train experts you can trust. The more you have to do, the less you can afford to micromanage. So, your staff must take on a new level of independence and importance. When you put people in place who can do their jobs even better than you can, take a step back and trust them to do what needs to be done so that you can focus on the bigger picture.
5. Keep track of everything
Organization and balance are fundamental. Records are indeed of value in any business, but the more you have to keep a record of, the more valuable records are. Implement efficient systems to keep track of your time spent, tasks to do, results and everything you can think of so that you can appropriately budget your time and lead both of your organizations to success.
To sum up the advice I’ve accumulated since my second business took off — juggle as much as you can and only as much as you can. Move at a steady pace that works for you. Zoom in and out to focus on the most significant matters. Hire people who are smarter than you and let them do what they do best to set your business up for success. Keep records and prioritize tasks to ensure you make time for your every organization and lead them to advance one another. And finally, always remember that your new business should tear brick walls down, not put them up.